Apple’s announcement of the iPad, it’s newest mobile computing device that claims to revolutionize how we consume content, has finally arrived. The hype surrounding it’s arrival had everyone speculating how magical this new product would be.¬† While I’ve not yet made up my mind on whether it is as great as Steve claims it is (even though I’ve already pledged to own at least one), I have been thinking about how it may impact the life of us designers. Let’s take a look at 6 ways Apple’s iPad will change the way we think about design.

Beautiful Apples

First and foremost, the iPad continues the tradition of beauty and attention to detail that Apple instills in every one of their products. The iPad will be another stellar example of how things should “just work.” User interface and user experience designers take note of how Apple lays out their apps and you’ll begin to see new conventions arise from it’s innovation. New user interactions via touch may very well change the way the majority of us interact with our computers. Being that design is partially about solving problems, Apple is always a “role model” in how to design simple, beautiful interaction.


The Internet In Your Hands

safari_handsThe way we browse the web will definitely impact the way we design for the web. Much like the introduction of small mobile browsers (iPhone), a whole new arena opens up for customized design and touch-browsing. If everything goes Apple’s way, a mass consumer adoption could shake up browser and screen resolution standards; Safari could take a another bite out of the Internet Explorer landscape and a 10 inch screen may usher in a new standard in mobile displays. While website designs probably won’t need to be adapted for the iPad as much as for the iPhone, we must consider how our sites may be different with the Internet literally in the hands of our users.

E-books I mean iBooks

The introduction of the iBook app will no doubt save many mass media publishers (i.e. the New York Times and major book publishers).¬† The revival of print media (even if it’s not printed) will open up opportunities for those gifted in print layouts. A beautiful hi-res screen will surely call for some eye-popping designs for a myriad of publishers. Add to this, the interactivity that will be available in the “print” layouts and e-publishing opens up a new revenue stream for many starving artists.


A Design Pad?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the iPad will not replace my need for a Mac Book Pro. Design professionals will still need the juice to push the pixels properly.¬† That said, there may be opportunities for mobile design applications to incorporate minimal design features, possibly along the lines of the iPhone’s Photoshop app. There will also surely be many apps developed specifically for designers to aid in selecting colors, designing wireframe mockups, and other necessary tasks.¬† And who knows, maybe there will be a future where the iPad is used like a Wacom tablet for hand drawn flavor.¬† Whatever the initial results, the possibilities that a tablet computer presents for actual creation are exciting.



In addition to creative applications, the iPad could very well be an essential admin and display tool for Freelancers (especially those on the go).¬† Imagine the possibilities of full screen apps for handling billing, client presentations and the like. The inclusion of a mobile iWorks means that making those presentations in Starbucks just got hipper (that didn’t sound very hip, did it?). And who wouldn’t want to show off work to clients on the stunning 9.7 in LED-backlit glossy display. Can somebody say iPortfolio?


App Gold Rush

Last, but not least, the App Store is again wide open for savvy designers/developers to make some quick cash. Many-a-fortunes have been made on iPhone and iPod Touch applications and adding yet another device to the line will allow for continued success for app developers.¬† If you’re not code-minded enough, there’s always a need for making apps pretty and the iPad will be home to many new and amazing apps in the months to come.


What Do You Think?

These are just a few of my thoughts immediately following my first exposure to my next must-own gadget. While I’m not calling for all designers to rush out and purchase one, I want you to consider what this means for your profession and for your interaction with technology. What are you most excited about? What features did they leave off that would make your job easier? How else will the iPad (and other tablet computers) affect the way we design? And will you buy one? Let me hear your thoughts and your love/hate for Apple’s newest iDevice.¬† (And please, no iTampon jokes. That got old after about 5 minutes on Twitter.)

(images via Apple)

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